Department of the Year Award
2016 National Winner and Finalists


laurel iconWinner: University of California, Santa Barbara – Police Department

“Responding to the Deltopia Riots and the Isla Vista Mass Killings”

In 2014, Isla Vista, an unincorporated tight-knit college community adjacent to the University of California, Santa Barbara experienced two major critical incidents; In April of 2014 an unsanctioned street party drew tens of thousands of people, later resulting a large scale civil disturbance. A little more than a month after the riot, in late May, an active shooter took the life of several community members, and injured many more. Understandably, these tragic events had a significant impact on the community.

The UC Santa Barbara Police Department shares concurrent jurisdiction over the Isla Vista area with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. Recognizing the immediate need for action and a change of culture within the Isla Vista community, the UC Santa Barbara Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Dustin Olson, immediately implemented a policing plan directed at decreasing and preventing criminal activity within the Isla Vista and University community, and building relationships with members of the community.

This plan, still in place, consists of collaborating statewide with the nine other university police departments within the UC system, local law enforcement partners, the UC Santa Barbara Office of Judicial Affairs, and other key university and community stakeholders to address the issues of crime and social disorder, as well as implement strong community outreach initiatives.

Community policing patrols focused on enforcement of the most prolific violations, such as alcohol and drug related violations, assaults, and property crimes, while community outreach initiatives focused on community education, safety, and relationship building. Collaborating with the Office of Judicial Affairs from the UC and local community colleges, a zero tolerance approach for violations was initiated, as well as the utilization of restorative justice programs, counseling, and community resources.

Over the last year and a half, The UC Santa Barbara Police Department’s efforts, coupled with the efforts of University and community stakeholders, yielded a double-digit reduction in crime within the University community, as well as the establishment of many positive relationships with members of the community. Officers interrupted and prevented several serious assaults, property crimes, and rendered lifesaving medical aid on numerous occasions, as well as provided substantial support to allied agencies. Tens of thousands of additional manpower hours, as well a commitment of over $2 million in funds specifically allocated toward community policing patrols within the Isla Vista and surrounding communities resulted in a safer community both in, and surrounding the University of California, Santa Barbara.



UCSB Police Sgt. Ryan Smith and Sgt. Matt Bly will be discussing the street riot and the Isla Vista mass killing on Day 1 of the conference.


Award Finalists

The Department of the Year Award recognizes outstanding accomplishment in student and campus safety by a U.S. college or university administrative department. These finalist have gone above duty to improve the safety of the students, faculty, staff and visitors at their campuses.

University of South Carolina Upstate – Department of Public Safety

Rowan University – Division of Student Life

The University of Texas at Tyler – Police Department


Award Luncheon

The 2016 Department of the Year Award will be presented to UCSB and the three finalist universities at the National Campus Safety Summit Award Luncheon on February 25, 2016.

All conference attendees are welcome at the (free) gourmet buffet luncheon. Join us in honoring this year’s recipients.